The Islanders are a storied franchise; they won four Stanley Cups in a row and appeared in five in a row. To move the Islanders to another state, as they have threatened to do, would be wrong considering that they have won here in New York. The time is now for the new Republican leadership in Nassau County to find a way to either build or rebuild the arena. There are a few things owner Charles Wang could do differently if he gets the chance to give the Coliseum a facelift.
Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum is not near any real public transportation hubs, which means that people have to drive to games. Teenagers need mom to drop them off and pick them up. The Rangers do not have this problem. The new Coliseum needs to be accessible. There are more Rangers fans on the Long Island Rail Road than there are Islanders fans. The way it stands now, if you live in Queens it is almost the same amount of drive time to go see the Devils in New Jersey, and that hurts the Islanders, since many fans are Queens residents.
The Islanders are having a dreadful season, and it follows decades of poor play. New arenas can turn momentum around. The state definitely does not have the money, but Wang is proposing to sink a lot of his own money into this, and the new Nassau County government has to keep this franchise on Long Island. As it stands now (and the Coliseum barely stands) it is one of the oldest and ugliest arenas in sports. It is time to rebuild, put some money into construction and the trades, and keep this team some place on Long Island.
Likewise, if they are going to continue to keep the name Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, veterans should get discounts to any events that they attend. If you name the arena after them and their service, it is only right to make them feel a little more welcome and cut them a break. The county needs to re-establish a relationship with its fans. This is an issue that should be looked at as an opportunity for the new government in Nassau County. The GOP was waiting to get back into power in Nassau County, and now they have the chance to show some good faith in the people.
Majority Leader Skelos
Now that Dean Skelos is going to be the State Senate Majority Leader, he inherits a little more than just the leadership post. He is the highest ranking GOP official in a state with serious party under-representation. The senate majority is a small one, and will always be a thin margin at best. The job for Skelos is not only to hammer out a budget on time with the new governor, but to find a way to build the party.
The year 2010 was a big midterm election year, and it will not be that way two years from now. Skelos and company have to start recruiting and building or that lead will be short lived.